High productivity gel diets for rearing of Queensland fruit fly, Bactrocera tryoni

Tahereh Moadeli*, Phillip W. Taylor, Fleur Ponton

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    61 Citations (Scopus)


    The Queensland fruit fly or ‘Q-fly,’ Bactrocera tryoni (Froggatt) (Diptera: Tephritidae), is Australia’s most damaging insect pest of horticulture. The sterile insect technique (SIT) is being developed as a sustainable approach to management of Q-fly. New larval diets are needed for economical production of millions of artificially reared sterile flies that are required for use in SIT. Solid diets that incorporate biological bulking agents present problems of variable quality and waste disposal. Liquid diets emerged as a promising alternative, but these also suffer drawbacks, including separation of components, fermentation and need for cleaning and regular replacement of substrates that support developing larvae. The present study considers whether two promising liquid diet formulations might be improved by incorporating agar (0, 0.25, 0.5, 1.0 and 1.5%) to create semiliquid or gel diets that maintain consistent composition, suppress fermentation, negate the need for supporting substrates and minimize waste. Overall, gel diets containing greater than 0.5% agar outperformed liquid diets (0% agar) and semiliquid diets (0.25% agar) of identical nutritional composition, especially in terms of development rate and productivity. Flies from the two tested diet formulations differed in flight performance, and this likely reflects differences in concentration of wheat germ oil and/or the type of yeast used. Overall, gel diets show great promise for rearing of Q-fly, overcoming many of the constraints of both traditional solid diets and more recently developed liquid diets. There is now a need for larger-scale trials that test and refine these diets for use in operational SIT settings.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)507-520
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Pest Science
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


    • liquid diet
    • gel diet
    • flight ability
    • mortality under stress
    • tephritidae


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